Health Notifications and Access to Services


  1. Notifications and Registrations
  2. Access to Health and Specialist Services
  3. Appointments

1. Notifications and Registrations

When a child starts to be looked after or changes placement, the social worker must arrange for the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), in the area where a child is placed, to be notified of the placement.

The manager of the home should arrange for the following:

  • For the child to be allocated with a Key Worker who will be responsible for promoting his/her health and educational achievement, liaising with key professionals, including the Clinical Nurse Specialist, the child's GP and Dental Practitioner. The Key Worker will also be responsible for ensuring that up to date information is kept in relation to the child’s health needs, development, illnesses, operations, immunisations, allergies, medications administered, dates of appointments with GP's and specialists and completing the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire. The SDQ is an internationally validated brief behavioural screening questionnaire for 4-16 year olds. It exists in three parts: one for the carer, another for the child’s teacher and a third part for the child. While the Department for Education requires local authorities to provide SDQ data to be completed for Looked After Children by their foster carer or residential care worker, local authorities should not see this as purely a data collection exercise by central government;
  • For the child to be registered with a GP;
  • For the child to have access to a Dentist in the home's locality;
  • For the child to be registered with an Optician in the home's locality;
  • For a Health Care Assessment to be carried out in relation to the child, as set out in Health Care Assessments and Plans Procedure.

Details of these registrations (and any changes) must be recorded, by the social worker, in the child’s record, a copy of which must be forwarded to the home by the social worker, at the latest, within 14 days of the placement.

Additionally, the child's Medical Record should be updated.

2. Access to Health and Specialist Services

The home's manager must ensure the home has good links with health agencies, is well informed about local health services such as CAMHS and Sexual Health Services in the area it covers, and takes this into account when deciding on admissions.

Staff should have sufficient understanding of relevant health services including the function of the Designated Nurse for Looked After Children. The home should liaise with the child’s placing authority to enable proper and immediate access to any specialist medical, psychological or psychiatric support. Staff in the home should challenge if these services are not provided for a child in their care.

If a child's needs are such that specialist health care is required e.g. children with a disability or visual impairment, the home's manager must ensure that local specialist services are secured, in conjunction with the social worker and relevant healthcare professionals from the placing authority. The homes manager should keep the General Practitioner (GP) informed of the process of care and any suggested change to the child’s care.

If there are any serious concerns about the emotional or mental health of a child, the home's manager must alert the social worker, and seek a review of the child's placement and/.or request an assessment.

Any strategies/services that are provided must be outlined in the child's Placement Plan/Health Care Plan.

Also see Registration of Healthcare at Children’s Homes (GOV.UK).

3. Appointments

If children require or request an appointment, these should be made on their behalf with their GP or other medical practitioners as appropriate.

When appointments are made, account should be taken of the child's wishes, for example, to see a practitioner of a preferred gender. Also, appointments should preferably be made which do not disrupt the child's education.

Parents, those with Parental Responsibility and the child's social worker should, if possible, be consulted before making appointments; and they should be informed of the outcome.

See: Consents and Delegated Authority Procedure.

As appropriate, the Chronology/and child’s record should be updated to take account of any appointments. Care should be taken to ensure that the top copy, held by the social worker, and the copy held in the home are updated.

Additionally, the child's Medical Record should be updated.